History of the Trust
The formal creation of the Trust in its original name, ‘The Firefighters Memorial Charitable Trust Fund’, was set out in a Deed dated 21st March 1991, and sought to commemorate the lives of those members of the Fire Service who were killed in the line of duty during the World War 2. The Trust Deed allowed for the erection and maintenance of a Memorial Statue and the staging of an Annual Service of Remembrance.
A symbolic site on the south side of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was secured and, on the 4th May 1991 a memorial, then named ‘Blitz’, was unveiled by Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, following a service in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Memorial depicting three wartime firefighters cast in bronze, engaged in firefighting duties. On its base, also cast in bronze were the names of the 997 men and women who lost their lives during air raids on London.
A Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony was organised each September to mark the commitment and the sacrifice of the men and women engaged with fighting the fires resulting from the air raids. September was chosen for the Service of Remembrance to coincide with the month in which the ‘Blitz’ on London started. The ‘Blitz’ commenced on the 7th September 1940 and lasted until 10th May 1941.
In 1996 the Trustees commenced work to establish a database, recording the details of all members of the Fire and Rescue Service, across the United Kingdom who had lost their lives as a result of their duties.
In the year 2000 HM Government, responding to a growing feeling that a national memorial dedicated to all members of the Fire and rescue Service across the United Kingdom was long overdue, invited the Trust to consider combining such a memorial with the existing World War 2 ‘Blitz’ memorial. The Trustees were pleased to agree and a new base was designed in bronze that would increase the height of the existing Memorial, in order to accommodate the additional names and to widen the criteria beyond wartime London.
Later, the Trust accepted an invitation from the Royal British Legion to be the organising body for the Retired Firefighters Contingent at the Annual Cenotaph Memorial Service in November each year.
In 2002, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, graciously agreed to become our Patron and in September 2003, we were privileged to have her rededicate the newly elevated and renamed ‘Firefighters Memorial’, with the additional added to the base.
In 2005, HM Government, via HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services, invited the Trust to accept responsibility for the existing Fire & Rescue Service garden, located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The existing plot was completely re-designed and a new and fitting 'Fire & Rescue Service Monument' within the 'Firefighters Memorial Garden' was created to recognise the contribution to our communities made by members of the Fire & Rescue Service, past and present. HRH The Princess Royal unveiled the new Monument on the 20 May 2008.
The 4th October 2010 saw the status of the Trust further enhanced when Her Majesty The Queen graciously granted a Royal Charter to the then re-named ‘Firefighters Memorial Trust’. This led to a Ceremonial Standard being designed in July 2011. HRH The Princess Royal attended a dedication ceremony at which she presented the Royal Charter and the ceremonial Standard to the Trust.
The Trust continues to recognise and remember those members of the Fire and Rescue Service who die in the course of their duties. Research into the past sometimes reveals new names and those that meet the Trust Criteria will be added to our records in due course.